Broadcasting Birth Control
Mass Media and Family Planning
Publication Year: 2013
Mass media, Manon Parry contends, was critical to the birth control movement’s attempts to build support and later to publicize the idea of fertility control and the availability of contraceptive services in the United States and around the world. Though these public efforts in advertising and education were undertaken initially by leading advocates, including Margaret Sanger, increasingly a growing class of public communications experts took on the role, mimicking the efforts of commercial advertisers to promote health and contraception in short plays, cartoons, films, and soap operas. In this way, they made a private subject—fertility control—appropriate for public discussion.
Parry examines these trends to shed light on the contested nature of the motivations of birth control advocates. Acknowledging that supporters of contraception were not always motivated by the best interests of individual women, Parry concludes that family planning advocates were nonetheless convinced of women’s desire for contraception and highly aware of the ethical issues involved in the use of the media to inform and persuade.
Published by: Rutgers University Press
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This book would never have been possible without the generous mentorship of Sonya Michel, who guided me during the development of the original dis-sertation project. I hope to follow her fine example as a friend and colleague as I move into the next stage of my career. I would also like to thank Elizabeth Fee and Patti Tuohy at the National Library of Medicine in Bethesda, Mary-...
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In 1967, Walt Disney Studios, in collaboration with the Population Council, released an animated movie called Family Planning. This extraordinary film, which was translated into twenty- three languages and was distributed widely in Asia and Latin America, features Donald Duck at an artist?s easel illustrat-ing the burdens of unlimited reproduction and the technologies of birth con-...
Battling Silence and Censorship
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Publicity lay at the heart of Margaret Sanger?s approach during the early days of the campaign to legalize birth control. She considered ?agitation through violation of the law? the vital first step in a long- term strategy.2 Despite the Comstock Law of 1873, which banned the dissemination of contraceptive information, manufactur-ers had continued to advertise methods to prevent and end pregnancy under the ...
The Medium Shapes the Message
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At the end of World War II, Planned Parenthood had to redefine its role. Com-munications experts, who had benefited from the wartime need for propaganda, required a new focus in the postwar period. Experts on public opinion who had specialized in promoting the image of American activities now hoped to find a purpose for mass persuasion in peacetime. In a return to the concerns of an ...
“Most of the World’s People Need Planned Parenthood”
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In the early years of the postwar period, U.S. family planning promoters dra-matically expanded their activities beyond the borders of their nation.1 Under the threat of a global ?population explosion,? their interests began to coalesce with the foreign policy concerns of the U.S. government. As a result, organiza-tions were permitted to promote their cause through federal channels. The gov-...
Soap Opera as Soap Box
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In the years after this purported exchange with the giant of North Ameri-can communications theory, theater director and television producer Miguel Sabido became famous for his prosocial (meaning positive social effects) model of persuasive media communication in entertainment television. As the previous chapters have shown, family planning promoters had long been ...
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Thanks to the use of sex in commercial broadcasts, entertainment media has offered a wealth of opportunities to incorporate family planning messaging over the last forty years. In the 1970s, researchers studying television began reporting that the number of references to sex was increasing each year in net-work programming. In the 1980s, the types of representations changed from ...
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About the Author
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Manon Parry, PhD, is an exhibition curator and historian and an assistant pro-fessor at the University of Amsterdam, where she teaches courses on media stud-ies, American studies, and public history. She is coeditor, with Ellen S. More and Elizabeth Fee, of Women Physicians and the Cultures of Medicine (Johns Hopkins University Press, 2008), which won the Archivists and Librarians in ...
Page Count: 210
Publication Year: 2013
Series Title: Critical Issues in Health and Medicine
Series Editor Byline: Edited by Janet Golden and Rima D. Apple